History – The Celts
were in Hungary from 3rd Century BC
but were overthrown by the Romans in the 1st Century
AD. The Romans started wine growing in Hungary and
also utilised the thermal springs for their Bathhouses.
The Huns, Goths and Avars paid brief
visits until Charlemagne ruled in 796. About 100 years
later tribes of Magyars came from
the Volga River and from Hungary made raids on the
rest of Europe. Later they were converted to Christianity
and Hungary’s first King Saint Stephen (Istvan)
was crowned on Christmas Day in 1000 – this
marking the start of the Hungarian State.
The Mongols arrived in the mid 13th
Century; many Hungarians were killed so strong fortifications
In the 15th Century the Ottoman Empire
Turkish army was halted and there was peace in the
late 15th century but in the early 16th Century the
Turks were back and it wasn’t until 1686 that
the Turks were expelled again and the Hapsburgs ruled
Hungary for a time.
All these wars meant the infrastructure was
destroyed and from the 18th century onwards
there was much rebuilding. Under the rule of Maria
Theresa and her son Joseph II Hungary prospered.
In mid 19th Century there was an
uprising and in 1866 Austria was defeated by Prussia
which was followed by an Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
The latter half of the 19th Century was a period of
growth and stability until World War I
After World War I and the collapse
of the Habsburg Empire Hungary became independent
but a 1920 treaty lost two thirds of its territory.
During World War II in an attempt to regain some of
its lost territory Hungary joined with the Nazi Germany.
In 1945 Hungary was liberated by
the Russian Army so started the communist era. In
1956 there was a revolt and Nagy was made Prime Minister
but soviet tanks arrived and fierce fighting meant
many were killed and many fled abroad. Quadra took
over until 1988 and free elections took place in 1990.
The change to a free market was painful and very many
Hungarians found their living standards had declined.
Hungary gained full membership of the European
Union in 2004.